Started by Trollheart, Feb 01, 2023, 05:27 PM
Quote from: Guybrush on Mar 13, 2023, 08:54 AMIt's been a while since I listened Spirit of Eden now, but I like that album a lot. I find it a little hard to find time for that sort of music which is introspective, a little slow, but very beautiful. It's probably best to take one's time, plop on some headphones and just drown oneself in it, but that's something I almost never do these days.
Quote from: Trollheart on Mar 13, 2023, 01:17 PMQuote from: Guybrush on Mar 13, 2023, 08:54 AMIt's been a while since I listened Spirit of Eden now, but I like that album a lot. I find it a little hard to find time for that sort of music which is introspective, a little slow, but very beautiful. It's probably best to take one's time, plop on some headphones and just drown oneself in it, but that's something I almost never do these days.I'm curious: why would I take a dump on my headphones??
Quote from: Trollheart on Feb 01, 2023, 05:34 PMRight then, let's go. Shimmery visual effects and warped music as we travel all the way back to 1972...Album title: Space ShantyArtist: KhanNationality: EnglishSub-genre: Canterbury SceneYear: 1972Position on list for that year: 10Chronology: 1 of 1Familiarity with artist: 2Familiarity with album: 2Gold Rated track(s): Stranded, Driving to Amsterdam, Hollow StoneSilver Rated track(s): StargazersWooden Rated track(s): NoneComments: This album looks familiar. I didn't get to 1972 yet in my History of Prog journal, but I think I may be about to get there, and have seen it in the list of albums released that year. Actually, it looks like I'm still mired in 1971 but I'm sure I've seen this album. I can tell you that Gong legend Steve Hillage was in Khan, along with some other Canterbury folk (sorry) and that this was their one and only album. It's relatively short, which may be a good thing for me - just over the three-quarters-of-an-hour mark, with a total of six tracks, some of them obviously quite long. Now, those of you who know me will already know that the Canterbury Scene is not, well, my scene. I've listened to Caravan, Soft Machine, Gong and others and I really did not like what I heard. Goes back to the hippy/psychedelic thing I guess; Hawkwind once wrote that if you want to get into it, you gotta get out of it, and I've never been out of it in my life. In fact, I think it might be hard to find someone who is more consistently in, so trippy albums don't have the same effect on me that they might have on, for example, you. Doesn't mean I'll pan it, but my expectations are a little lower than were I going to review, say, a prog folk or a progressive metal or neo-prog album (no, not in 1972, I know, smartass!) so I'm sort of ready for the worst.Let's see how bad it is.It's certainly a product of the seventies, with that staggered guitar that comes through so much in hard rock and early metal, and of course psych; the main vocal melody reminds me of something but I can't place it. Uriah Heep maybe? Not sure. Nice slow organ run is pretty cool and this is of course the opener and title track (with an additional "includes the Cobalt Sequence and the March of the Sine Squadrons") and runs for nine minutes. It's pretty okay actually when the vocals drop out; instrumental work is indeed quite progressive in tone. I have to say, of the Canterbury albums I've listened to (and there have not been that many, but a few certainly) this is far and away the best. "Stranded" is really nice with a sprinkly piano and - oh, it's just broke out into hard guitar and warbling organ. Picking up speed but still nice. Even the vocal doesn't bother me on this. I see Hillage and Nick Greenwood seem to share vocal duties, so maybe I'm listening to a different singer? Anyway it's good and the instrumental passages are glorious. Much better than I had expected. That piano from Dave Stewart really makes the song.That guitar bit there presages the big hit for the Alan Parsons Project, "Eye in the Sky", or to be more accurate, its instrumental intro, "Sirius". Wonder if Parsons listened to this album, or maybe David Paton did? "Mixed Up Man of the Mountains" has an odd kind of tra-la-la vocal with some truly exceptional guitar, and really, other than the somewhat stuttering start this album has not put a foot wrong since. That sounds like some Cat Stevens in there too, in the guitar riff? Some pretty rocky stuff going on now, as the track acquires teeth whereas up to now it's just been more or less lazily chewing the cud. To carry the analogy, such as it is, further, the song has been up to now cows in a field, until a bull charges in and takes control of the herd. It's heavier, is what I'm saying. And really good. One of the longer tracks, "Driving to Amsterdam" has a quite jazzy peppy uptempo organ running the melody, very breezy with some fine guitar from Hillage, and the vocal is lovely and relaxed, again reminding me of something, or I guess as whatever that something is, it comes well after '72, I should say that something reminds me of this. Well, you know what I mean.Yeah I know what it is: ELO's "The Whale" and also parts of "Echoes", which in the case of the latter is in fact before this album, if only by a year. Certainly enjoying this. "Stargazers" has a very Van der Graaf Generator vibe to it, could imagine Hammill singing on this one, then the closer is another nine-minuter, with "Hollow Stone (Including Escape of the Space Pirates)" having a very stately kind of marching, almost triumphant feel to it, a low-key vocal and a sonorous organ arrangement. It's no surprise this album is in the top ten, the only surprise really being that it's that low. But then, when you look at the others in that list - Genesis, Tull, Yes - two Bancos? - quite a lot of RPI in fact, like four albums or something - maybe it's not that it's not good enough to get higher, just that other, better-known albums are preventing it from doing so by being voted for more. Does deserve to be a few places up though. Personal Rating: 10
Quote from: Lady of Synth on Feb 06, 2023, 03:44 AMI am a big Oldfield fan and Ommadawn is my favorite of his. Gonna be fun to compare your review to mine once I get there in my 100 list.
Quote from: Trollheart on Feb 03, 2023, 04:40 PMAnd so we travel a year forward in time, to the heady year of 1973, when Pink Floyd released their seminal Dark Side of the Moon, but at number 9 on the list for this year we find this, our first RPI album, but surely not our last.Album title: Felona E SoronaArtist: Le OrmeNationality: ItalianSub-genre: Rock Progressivo ItalianoYear: 1973Position on list for that year: 9Chronology: 4 of 20 (or 21, see below)Familiarity with artist: 3Familiarity with album: 1Gold Rated track(s): Felona, The Plan, Return to NaughtSilver Rated track(s): NoneWooden Rated track(s): SoronaComments: This album appears to have been released both in Italian and English versions, though oddly enough, none of their other twenty albums have been. I don't know if it was just that it was so successful, some sort of breakout album, that it had to be re-recorded for the English-speaking market, or what, but in the same year there are two versions. Truth to tell, there are three versions of this album, another one put out in 2016, which looks like it might be a two-disc version of both Italian and English releases. Guess it must have been really popular. Obviously, for my own sake, I'm going to try to get the English language version if I can. And I can't. Okay, despite YouTube giving me an option to search for the English version the only one that comes up is the Italian one, so I guess for now I'm stuck with that.This is even shorter than the Khan album, clocking in at just over a half-hour, with the longest track on it being the opener, at nearly nine minutes, but the rest of them are really quite short. An interesting thing, I would think, for an RPI band to decide to do. I guess you can see how Genesis became so popular in Italy, when this kind of thing was going on all over the country. I mean, I'm not sure if RPI came about as a result of, at the same time as, or before Peter and the boys, but there's very definitely an early Genesis feel to this opener, though I do also hear a lot of classical in it, mostly Bach's "Toccata and Fugue". Is it all instrumental I wonder? With a nine-minute opener you'd have to imagine no, but then, some bands have done that. This Winter Machine even have a ten-minute one - but no. There are the vocals now, and though I've no idea what's being sung, the voice is very clear and serene, at least on this track. Tubular bells I think opening the second track which has, if anything, a very Spanish feel to it, with acoustic (Spanish?) guitar in a sort of singalong rhythm, almost nursery rhyme in its way (Nursery Cryme? All right, TH: enough with the damned comments in brackets! What brackets? Don't play dumb: you know the ones I mean. Oh, those brackets! Yes, those ones) - uh, where was I? Oh yeah. Some flute coming in and a VERY Alan Parsons sound (yes yes I know) with rippling piano and some really nice vocals on "Felona" (which I can't help thinking of felony but I'm sure it's a name or something - the English language version doesn't translate it so that's why I imagine it's a name). Ramping things up for "The Maker", the other "long" track - just shy of six minutes - with a galloping bass line and sort of shots on the keyboard, very dramatic. And then a piece that sounds ripped out of Genesis's "Fountain of Salmacis", though since both albums came out in the same year I don't know who copied who, if anyone, or if it's just coincidence.Great sort of boogie piano then running along to take us into "Web of Time", a slow, melancholy ballad with another recognisable melody or motif in it, right it's from one of the SKY tracks, the album recorded ten years later, so again, one or the other. Either SKY copied this bit or heard it or, which is more likely, just one of those things. Sounds like a motorbike revving now - guess it's guitar effects - as "Sorona" comes in, and this one is short too, just shy of three minutes. Can't say I particularly like this one honestly. That constant revving sound is very very annoying and it doesn't stop, runs right through the entire track. Maybe it has something to do with the song; don't know and don't care. Next up is "The Plan", coming in on a shimmery descending keyboard line with possibly warped guitar or something and maybe (though I doubt it) something like a theremin? Very spooky and weird, then "The Balance" has again that kind of breezy Spanish or Latin feel, with acoustic guitar and a few blasts on the organ, and a low-key vocal, and we end with "Return to Naught" which seems to be a kind of reprise of the "Toccata" that opened the album.Overall I'd say this is a decent RPI album, but like with many of them - and not just due, I think, to the language barrier - I find it a little hard to engage fully with it. On repeated listenings I feel it would probably click more with me, but I've 498 albums to go and I don't have the time for repeated listenings. I reckon it probably deserves its place on the list, though I feel there may be better RPI albums out there. Still, Le Orme are one of the giants of the scene, so it would not be fair to ignore that. Be interesting to see if we encounter them again in any future year lists. I'm sure we will.Personal Rating: 8
Quote from: Lady of Synth on Feb 07, 2023, 06:56 PMI love Ocean and Eloy in general. I agree that the vocals aren't great. I just kind of tune them out half the time, the instrumental side of their music is great enough to counterbalance the less than stellar vocals.